Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Eye of the Storm

Yesterday, Hurricane Sandy came through our area and I’m sure you’ve seen all the reports of damage. Fortunately, here in Wilmington, Delaware, while we experienced rain and heavy winds it wasn’t as bad. Our office Disaster Prevention preparations worked as planned to keep our staff safe, our customers satisfied, and provide for our business continuance.

The most important resource of Zerowait is our staff, and they need to remain safe and take care of their family and property. We recommend our staff take Personal Time Off during a weather emergency and concentrate on keeping their family safe. If there is an incidental business question, we can contact them by cell or email. That allows us to check on staff safety as well as provide our customers with the service they expect.

Making use of the Internet, our remote engineering and sales support teams allowed us to seamlessly move our support services and sales to other regions of the country. This allowed our local staff affected by the hurricane to concentrate on taking care of their families.  The staff that was in the office yesterday was able to prepare our facilities in case high water entered our building. We spent quite a few hours moving things around, and making sure that our equipment was safe. The system our team has built over the last decade harnesses the power of the internet to create a virtual environment for the Zerowait staff to provide for our customers, and quite a few were surprised to find we were working yesterday.

We’re back up and running this morning in our main location because the Zerowait team takes storm preparations seriously. We take notes after each weather event to improve our response to events as they occur.  The only way to improve is to learn from your past and study what others have done to avoid issues. We learned quite a few things from this storm, and we are reviewing our notes and adding a few new pages to our Disaster Prevention Manual.

There is always room for improvement, even at Zerowait  : ).

Friday, October 19, 2012

We are Optimistic

This week I traveled to the ICANN conference in Toronto http://toronto45.icann.org/  and also visited several of our customers in and around Toronto. The amount of construction going on in Toronto is incredible and the Ontario economy is doing very well according to the customers I visited. The ICANN events were interesting and it was great catching up with my friends and customers from around the world that were attending the conference. The folks I spoke to at ICANN are optimistic about the future growth opportunities that the new Top Level Domains will bring about, and it is good to talk to people who are enthusiastic about the opportunities that are unfolding in their business sectors. Coincidentally the Canadian press has an article today that points to the optimistic view of the Canadian business folks I met with this week:

"Canadian manufacturers are feeling optimistic about their futures as they foresee a sales shift over the next three years towards Europe and developing countries, according to a study released Thursday by their industry's main association.
Sales within their home provinces, to the rest of Canada and to the United States will remain the dominant markets for Canadian goods, but most companies expect to expand their reach to other markets, according to the survey of 649 Canadian companies released by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association.
"Companies expect globalization pressures will propel a shift in where they do business," the analysis conducted in August by a coalition of 52 industry associations found."

All of the customers I met with have tremendous storage needs in multiple global locations, and they are looking for ways to cut costs on their data storage. Zerowait has provided many of them with NetApp storage support for many years, and they are also embracing our SimplStor products for their archiving and image/graphics storage requirements.

Reacting to this globalization of our business niche, and the requests of our Australian customers for a local office, Zerowait opened our Australian office in 2011 and our business is thriving in Australia.  Over the next few years we expect our global business to grow to about 50% of Zerowait’s revenues. Working internationally has challenges, but our customers like that we help them control their enterprise storage costs around the world with our affordable storage support and hardware solutions.

The Oil and Gas industry has always been global, and has always required vast amounts of storage. During the first week in November, Farat Buta, our EU sales manager, will be traveling from the UK to the SEG show in Las Vegas to work with us in booth 107. Farat will be working with many of our international clients who will be there, helping them meet their storage growth objectives with our affordable storage products and services. 

Finally, in November Zerowait will be celebrating its 21st year in business. When I look back over the past 21 years and see what our team has accomplished and how we have built the company from my dream into an international company I am very impressed with our staff.  But more importantly, I am very optimistic about the next 21 years and I know that we can help our customers in new ways as technology improves and globalization increases.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

If you like NetApp, you’ll love Zerowait!

NetApp customers are extremely loyal to the brand and they love the performance, scalability, and reliability that NetApp provides their user community. There are, however, two aspects of doing business with NetApp that annoy their customers, and those are the rapid supersession of models and the costs of service and support. But as many loyal NetApp customers have found out, combining NetApp hardware with Zerowait support provides them with an affordable high availability solution.

Zerowait has been working with NetApp Filers since 1998. We still are supporting legacy filers for organizations that were built in the ‘90’s. That is longevity! Many organizations struggling with the uncertain world economy take the approach “if it ain’t broke, don’t replace it.” And for those companies Zerowait’s affordable support provides a lifeline for their NetApp storage.

Over the last few weeks we have helped some of the best known organizations in Biotechnology, Video Effect (VFX), Media and hosting meet their growing storage requirements without busting their budgets. Like many of the IT organizations we work with, some of our new customers are in budget lockdown due to reduced quarterly earnings, and upgrading to the latest NetApp head is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean they can’t add more NetApp storage. They know that Zerowait provides storage upgrades and shelves to customers around the world, and our current specials make adding storage to their current reliable, scalable NetApp infrastructure easy and affordable.

In this economy, outstanding service and support has a value which can be measured by comparing the cost of new equipment and required data migration to the cost of adding to your current NetApp highly available and scalable storage infrastructure.  These bottom line costs savings can be measured by CFO’s and the folks in the executive suites, with no impact to the quality of service you now provide.

If you like your NetApp equipment, you will love Zerowait.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Competition Leads to Lower Prices!

I was speaking to a customer last week who we had quoted and I was told that they were staying with NetApp for their support because NetApp met our price. The customer felt it was better to stay with the OEM for support, since the price was the same. I told the customer that although I was sorry that I did not get his business, I was happy that I was able to help them meet their budget needs by creating the competitive environment which incentivized their NetApp representative to meet our price point for service and support. The customer agreed that it was our competition that reduced their cost of support.

We work with customers all over the world, and many of our customers say that we provide better service and support than the OEM does for their own equipment.  Many customers keep their NetApp systems long enough that NetApp’s representatives will no longer provide support quotes for equipment and Zerowait is the only global company providing high availability support for these legacy systems.  We think that NetApp makes great hardware and software and we have been working with NetApp hardware since 1998. Over the last decade we became an independent service and support organization, and that transition has allowed us to provide a competitive business model to NetApp for the support of their equipment. Our customers include commercial organizations around the globe, and many state and federal agencies.

In a turbulent world and uncertain economy, many organizations are fighting with extremely tight IT budgets and looking for ways to save on their storage costs. Over the last month I have met with customers in TX, CO, NV, and AZ to discuss the many ways we can help them stretch their IT dollars, whether by extending the service life of their NetApp equipment or by using our SimplStor as an  affordable data archive or tape replacement solution. If you are looking for an affordable storage solution, Zerowait has the answer!